A Really Good Move
It has been hard for me to post recently because my mother has entered her final days of life. As we know caregiving is a roller coaster. Some days we have energy, others we can barely eat. The last few weeks have felt the latter and have been filled with questions, decisions, updates, tears, anxiety, and fear. It is the hardest thing to watch someone you love slowly fade. I am thankful for the wide support system I have in my family and friends.
That is all to say: Sometimes you have to mentally check out to get through the day. I learned a long time ago to forgive myself for that and is important advice to anyone caregiving out there. We can only do so much!
I was inspired to post today when my uncle, Steve Seely, husband of my mothers sister, Wende, sent me a poem he wrote about my mother's impending passing. I somehow made it through reading aloud to my mom (hearing is the last sense to go!), and wanted to share with those who knew her. There is hope in her passing and I long for it to be free of suffering and full of peace. In the meantime I am reading her Little Women, a book she shared with my sister and I many years ago. Thank you everyone for you prayers, meals, and support as we spend our last days with our own Marmee.
Here the is the poem.
A Really Good Move, By Steve Seely
My treasured Twila is not dying. She's just relocating. Making a really good move. Leaving the land of the dying for the land of evermore.
Too bad the move is harder than childbirth, Since, everything is packed and Ready.
Her kaleidoscopic life
Filled with piano flourishes, art filled spaces, the embrace of friends, the sincerity of deep faith and her endless words--words of kindness, wisdom, judgment and jest,
This extraordinary life
Plotted colorfully across a rich and varied tapestry, Now packaged in grayness.
A cornucopia of a life crammed
Into a small room
A voice muted
As if buried under massive dust drifts
Perfectly beautiful gray matter, an exceptional intellect,
I like to think that soon she will land on Get Out of Jail Free.
And that her eyes, now clouded and confused will find crystal clarity as she approaches the gates of heaven.
Jesus is there to greet her. He gave Pete the day off, Just to meet her.
He’s not a bearded and frightening or beaming Jesus But a friendly
A smiling, storytelling, listening, understanding Jesus.
A loving, caring, compassionate all embracing Jesus.
Jesus with a hug as big as a cloud, as soft as a pillow, and as warm as a nice hot spa towel.
After the greeting, during which my treasured Twila laughs, giggles, cries, shouts “Oh my!” then laughs again, Jesus takes her by the hand and walks her toward a house.
As she approaches, it looks familiar.
Is it the little place in Georgetown?
It is none of her homes and all of her homes.
It’s the homiest home ever.
She looks at the Welcome signs and then at the gleaming door handle
And, Jesus, says, “Go ahead, you can open it.”
And, there is a party inside. And those gathered, long on their tip-toes in anticipation, with massive grins and eyes rimmed with tears break into a long, sustained period of applause.
Wave after wave of cheering, roars louder than a stadium after a game ending homer, angels are whooping and hollering and family members and friends are laughing and hugging and exulting because in heaven or on earth, what can be better than loving well one that you love?
And, Twila is oh so loved.
Dad Bob and mom Darlene are the first to grab her and hold her, the three of them locked together as if with crazy glue, giddy, laughing, jumping up and down but dripping joyful tears too, filled up and overflowing.
And Twila exclaiming, “I’ve arrived. After all of that, I made it.”
“Can you believe it?”
And everyone could.
There were 1000 hugs that first day. Did she really know that many people?
And, because days are long in heaven she could savor each one, soaking in their warmth like sun rays. And she did. And it was good.
After all of the hugging, laughing, and catching up, Jesus took my treasured Twila by the hand and he walked her into a massive theatre. Bigger and way more grand than the Kennedy Center. They sat right in the middle, not too close sharing buttery popcorn as the lights dimmed. The screen has no top or bottom. It looks like the sky, endless. And it begins to fill up with images from Twi’s amazing life on earth.
As the scenes unfold a theme emerges, As it turns out, Twila is in heaven, but she has left bits and pieces of heaven on earth too. Throughout her life, with each act of kindness, grace, concern, and empathy she had made a bit of heaven on earth. So, the movie was a long one, filled with her enormous goodness.
There she was hosting a dinner for WAG friends, greeting a Russian orphan in St. Petersburg, counseling and consoling a daughter, changing sheets for the next guest, playing a Steinway, her fingers dancing a flamenco across the keys, her eyes grazing on the music and listeners rapt, caught up in the beauty of it, the heavenly beauty of it. Caught up in heaven itself.
As Twila watched the film she grew sad. She missed her dearest Jerry and her amazing Ab, and her first born and incredible gift Rachel. She missed her friends and life in Washington D.C. She missed Ireland and Russia and California and the many places she had been and loved. She missed her dear sister Wende and that tease of a brother called Park.
But, as Jesus held her hand, the sadness gave way to joy. She knew she was home.
She knew she’d found the place she’d never leave, that there would be many celebrations in her future and that she wouldn’t miss a single one.